In recent years, more and more people are using CBD oil for pain management. What is CBD? Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is different from another well-known cannabinoid in cannabis, THC, in that it can help ease pain and relax the mind without any psychoactive effects. This makes oils that contain CBD a popular natural remedy.
Read below to learn more about the best CBD oils for pain management, how CBD helps relieve aches and inflammation, and how to use CBD oil to treat pain. We'll also talk a bit about the differences between oils, topicals, and oral capsules, so you can shop smarter in a confusing online market.
Our Top CBD Oils for Pain Management
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
- Cornbread Hemp (USDA Organic)
- Plant People (B Corp)
- NuLeaf Naturals
- Green Roads
- Prima (capsule)
- Spruce (cream)
How We Picked the Best CBD Oil for Pain Relief
When looking for a CBD product, it's important to choose a high-quality product you can trust. This is because some CBD products, since they are not regulated by the FDA, may not contain the potency the label states and/or they may contain other ingredients that could cause harmful side effects.
We use the same six criteria to determine whether a CBD oil product is high-quality:
Value: You can divide the price of the bottle by the milligrams of CBD in the bottle to get a measure of value. The cost per milligram is the only true way to separate products by price.
Strength: It's important to consider the type of hemp extract used in the CBD product you choose. First, there is full spectrum CBD, which contains all the natural compounds of the cannabis plant, including CBD, trace cannabinoids, aromatic oils known as terpenes, and other essential oils. Each of the compounds from this type of extract may enhance the benefits of the next. This is called the entourage effect. Full spectrum oils must contain less than 0.3% THC. Broad spectrum CBD extracts contain everything full spectrum does minus the THC. And finally, CBD isolate is about 99-percent pure CBD with no other cannabis plant compounds.
Source: Not only is the type of extract important when it comes to CBD, but it's also important to consider where the hemp plant used to extract the CBD oil was sourced. We prefer hemp from Colorado, Kentucky, and North Carolina, states with robust industrial hemp programs. We always try to support American-grown hemp.
Flavor: The best CBD products should be effective and offer a clean, natural taste. We look for products that are vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and contain no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Transparency: It's vital to choose a CBD product that has been lab-tested by a third-party to ensure that what you see on the label is what you get in your product. It can also help to choose products that have certification by ISO 9001: 2015 or by places that ensure trusted testing practices:
- American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP)
- U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)
- U.S. Hemp Authority
- American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
- Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC)
Customer Experience: When buying a product to feel better, buy from a brand that supports its customers with good service, easy checkout, and simple returns.
All of these factors went into our list below. We also tried each of these oils and spoke with the leaders of the brand to better understand their quality control practices. We feel confident recommending these products.
Potency: Contains 80 milligrams of CBD per dropper
What we like: Comes in a hemp seed oil or coconut MCT oil base; 100% natural; free of pesticides and preservatives; only 0.3% THC; made in U.S.A; vegan; gluten-free.
Why buy: We like this product because it's free of artificial flavors or sweeteners and contains a dropper to ensure accurate dosing. The high concentration may be best for people who have been using CBD for a while or require a higher daily dosage. Be sure to check out the in-depth customer reviews on the website to learn what real people have to say about Spruce. This brand supports its customers.
Potency: Comes in a 30 mL bottle that contains either 500, 1000, 2500, or 5000 milligrams CBD per bottle which equates to about 17, 33, 83, or 167 milligrams CBD per 1 mL dropper, respectively.
What we like: Has a fractionated MCT coconut oil base; uses U.S. Hemp Authority-certified non-GMO industrial hemp grown in the U.S.A.; supports natural farming practices.
Why buy: We like this product because it uses hemp that has been certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority and contains low levels of THC for pain relief without the high.
Potency: Comes in 25 or 50 mg of CBD per mL. There is also a half-size bottle available, if you want to start with a smaller purchase to see if you like the oil.
What we like: These are whole flower hemp extracts, meaning they are very full spectrum oils with a CBD-to-THC ratio of 22:1. Made from certified-organic hemp, they also contain organic MCT coconut oil.Why buy: For strength, and a full plant experience—these oils contain the highest amount of THC allowed by Federal law.
Potency: Comes in a 30 mL bottle containing either 315, 630, or 1500 milligrams CBD which equates to about 11, 21, or 50 milligrams of CBD per 1 mL dropper
What we like: Vegan; Gluten-free; Non-GMO; USDA Organic; cGMP Standard; Keto approved.
Why buy: These all natural-tasting products are full of a variety of therapeutic cannabinoids, including CBG and CBL. The full spectrum CBD is carried by coconut MCT and hempseed oil, making for a natural flavor.
Potency: Comes in a 30 mL bottle containing either 300, 900, 1800, 3000, or 6000 mg of CBD which equates to about 10, 30, 60, 100, or 200mg of CBD per 1 mL dropper
What we like: Full spectrum hemp extract, made with organic hemp, processed with a method known as CO2 extraction that helps obtain a complete range of cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils, and other beneficial phytonutrients.Why buy: We like this product because it contains a variety of concentrations of CBD oil so anyone from beginner to long-term user of CBD oil can enjoy such products.
Potency: Comes in a 30 mL bottle containing either 600, 1200, or 2400 milligrams CBD which equates to about 20, 40, or 80 milligrams of CBD per 1 mL dropper
What we like: Naternal is made with ethanol extraction. They then do residual solvent testing to ensure a clean product after processing. These products are dramatically less expensive due to the relationships the brand has in place with local farmers in North Carolina.Why buy: Value, value, value. To get a high-quality full-spectrum oil at a great price, Naternal is a perfect brand for anyone who is new to CBD and is looking to try the products without breaking the bank. Note that this indica blend is a top pick for anxiety and best for mindful relaxation and the calming needed for condition management.
Potency: Contains 1000 milligrams CBD per 1-ounce stick or 3000 milligrams CBD per 2.5-ounce stick
What we like: Contains an Organic Golden Jojoba oil base along with essential oils like rosemary, ginger, lavender, eucalyptus, and tree oil. It also contains a cooling component in menthol crystals and a heating component in Cinnamomum camphora oil.Why buy: We like this product because it provides a convenient and portable form of CBD oil that can be applied just about anywhere on your body externally where you need pain relief.
Potency: Comes in a 30 mL bottle containing either 500, 1000, or 3000 milligrams CBD which equates to about 17, 33, or 100 milligrams of CBD per 1 mL dropper
What we like: Made with organically-grown hemp from Kentucky, these products are all THC-free. The brand also offers immune boosting blends and products with other helpful cannabinoids, like CBG.
Why buy: This is the most trusted THC-free option on the market. Many people want to experience the benefits of CBD without the chance of failing a drug test. These are the products for those shoppers.
Potency: Comes in a 30 mL bottle containing either 300, 750, or 1500 milligrams CBD which equates to about 10, 25, or 50 milligrams of CBD per 1 mL dropper
What we like: Soy-free; Gluten-free; Vegan-friendly; Developed by a team of pharmacists and produced in a cGMP and FDA-registered facility.
Why buy: These broad spectrum oils contain all the beneficial compounds in a full spectrum oil, minus the THC. They also come in a variety of flavors, like Original, Mint Breeze, and Apple Kiwi Bliss.
Potency: 15mg of broad spectrum hemp CBD per vegan softgel
What we like: Vegan; Made with organically-grown hemp; Includes other plant material, like terpenes and flavonoids.
Why buy: These capsules make a great option for people who don't enjoy the taste of CBD oils. They allow you to get the benefits of a CBD oil for pain in an easy-to-take and portable form.
Potency: 300mg of full spectrum CBD in a 2 fl oz. jar
What we like 100% natural; No pesticides; Made in the USA; Low THC.
Why buy: Spruce is a product we support because of the quality of their products and the thousands of customer reviews on their website. Real people believe this topical cream has helped them with joint and muscle pain, including arthritis pain.
CBD Oil for Pain FAQs
Does CBD oil really work for pain?
There are many different types of pain that someone can experience. Common forms of pain include:
- Nociceptive pain: Occurs after exposure to certain stimuli like heat, cold, chemical irritants, or force. Chronic back pain may be a form of this type of pain, depending on the cause.
- Inflammatory pain: Occurs because of activation of the immune system by an injury or infection.
- Pathological pain: Includes neuropathic pain, or damage to the nervous system, as well as dysfunctional pain, which is pain occurring with no damage or inflammation. Examples of dysfunctional pain are the types of pain people experience with fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and tension type headaches.
CBD works in reducing pain through the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, which involves CBD binding to certain receptors. In particular, the receptor CB1, found in the central nervous system, helps mediate pain regulation and activation of it can result in inflammation and oxidative stress. On the other hand, the CB2 receptor, found mostly in the tissues and cells outside of the nervous system, can help slow down chronic inflammatory processes in the body.
When CBD binds to these receptors it acts as an anti-inflammatory compound; this reduction in inflammation can help to reduce pain.
For example, a 2018 study shows that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) may benefit from CBD use since it may help reduce fatigue, spasticity, and pain that in turn can improve mobility.
A 2017 study also states that cannabis-based medicines like CBD can benefit those with chronic pain, especially those with neuropathic pain like people with MS.
CBD oil can also be helpful to those with arthritis pain. A 2020 study review reports that in animal studies cannabinoids show potential to lessen the pain associated with rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. More clinical trials are needed to confirm such positive findings in humans.
What type of CBD oil for pain should I take?
The type of CBD oil product you take will depend not only your preferences, but also on the type of pain you have. For example, if you have isolated muscle or joint pain, it may help to use a topical CBD product like lotions. On the other hand, if you have systemic pain, then a capsule or oil that you would ingest orally may be more effective.
Other factors to consider include side effects of each type of CBD oil product. Overall, the most common side effects linked with the use of CBD oil include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
CBD can also interact with certain prescription medicines like blood thinners and sedatives like benzodiazepines and opioids. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider and pharmacist before starting to take any CBD product.
How much CBD oil for pain should I take?
If you are considering using CBD oil for pain, then it's important to determine which dose is most effective for relieving your pain without causing side effects. This can differ from person to person depending on factors such as metabolism, age, weight, as well as the intensity of pain.
There is limited research on the most effective dosage of CBD for pain. However, a 2019 study shows that a dose of 2.4 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight per day may be too low to provide a significant benefit to pain relief.
If you're not sure where to start when it comes to dosing and you're new to using CBD, then it's best to start with low doses. This lower dose could range anywhere from >1 to 5 mg per kilogram of body weight each day depending on the aforementioned dosage factors.
Then you can double the dose each week or so until you find a dose that works best for reducing pain and not producing side effects. It's best to talk to a pharmacist for more specific advice on what dosage to start with.
Should I try CBD oil for pain?
If you live with pain in any form, it can limit what you can do daily and impact your quality of life. And with concerns of the addictive properties of certain pain medications like opioids and benzodiazepines, a natural pain reliever may help treat chronic pain without serious adverse effects.
However, since most CBD oil products are not FDA-approved, you may still want to talk with your healthcare provider before starting CBD oil for pain. You also want to use guides like this one to thoroughly research brands and CBD products.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, copywriter, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. As a writer an independent reviewer of CBD products, Josh covers the relationship between cannabis-based products and the human body. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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